Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Genius: Ninety-Nine Percent Limitation?

Another stab at explaining Overt vs. Advanced:

As most of you will know, a lot of great moments in rock'n'roll came because some band didn't have any money or time (or both) to record their music the way they wanted, but the limitations ended up inspiring the band or producer to do something better. I'm sure, for instance, the Kingsmen would have jumped at the chance to work in a state-of-the-art studio with an unlimited budget. Of course, then "Louie, Louie" would probably have been just another song. But they recorded live, under one microphone, and the singer had to scream his head off, so you can't understand what he's saying. If people knew he wasn't singing dirty lyrics, I wouldn't be talking about the Kingsmen today. George Martin, however, had no limitations when he worked for the Beatles, and this freedom made his records better. In this example, the Kingsmen are Overt, and George Martin is Advanced. (It's important to remember that Overt does not mean "bad." I love "Louie, Louie.") The Overt thrive when the listener is left to imagine what might be beneath the surface, while the Advanced don't leave anything unearthed. Ironically, it is the Advanced that are harder to understand than the Overt.

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